Author: Rene Syler


Good Enough Mother has had the joy (and sometimes frustration) of having three strong men in her life.

First: My father. William Henry Syler. Bill to his friends and family. He was the very definition of the strong, silent type. After a 22-year military career, he became a civil servant, working first as a postal carrier, then in an administrative job for Social Security.

My dad was my hero for the things that don’t really garner headlines in our society. He took great care of our family, financially and otherwise. We never had a need for anything (of course, as young girls, my sister and I WANTED everything but that is beside the point). I remember when Tracy and I were pre-teens and one Valentines Day, Dad said he needed to make a call (this was WAY before cell phones). When he dialed the number, oddly enough, the ring came from inside our house. We ran excitedly down the hall and there, in each of our rooms was a princess phone! He had arranged for an additional line to be installed in the house that was our very own. There was a method behind his madness because that meant that his line would not be tied up with kids calling all time of the day and night. Smart man.

But one day he took on super human status. He came home from his mundane job at the Social Security office and poured himself a drink. He looked like he really needed one, this day more than the others. So over dinner, mom begged him to tell us what happened. Turns out some man had come into the office, upset about the government and his benefits and started trashing the place. Just as he picked up a typewriter and was about to throw it at someone, my dad stepped in. “STOP!” in that booming voice which made it clear it was a command not a request. He continued to talk to the man until he dropped the typewriter and crumpled into a sobbing heap. Wow, my dad was a hero that day, and not just to me.

We did not have a perfect family or upbringing but my father was the first, up close and personal look I had at what a man does for his family. It wasn’t just about making money. He guided our family through some turbulent times. He showed us love and support in his quiet, gruff manner. He taught me a lot about life.

He cared for us for so long that it really took me aback when I realized he was not invincible. Carrying around too much weight, smoking and drinking too much all took their toll. He battled high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer before finally dying of a stroke at age 59.

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Hey GEMs…

It’s the summer season and that means we’ll all be spending a lot more time outdoors. You know, cramped in a folding chair, on the sidelines of your kid’s soccer/baseball/softball/track meet/swim meet ALL DAY LONG!

Now, you girls know I wouldn’t steer you wrong. I’m not the sell-out type and given the fact that I have not a single line on my face, I must know of what I speak. Okay, that and a good dermatologist who provides copious amounts of Botox and microdermabrasion, but I digress.

When I was a kid, my mom told me if you want to look young for a long time, wear sunscreen. I protested, “ But mom, ‘WE’RE BLACK!” thinking perhaps she hadn’t noticed that before. “We’re not going to burn.” Oh to the contrary. And burn we did, in the California summer sun.

So check this out. Having been around the horn on this sunscreen issue, I finally found one that works to protect against UVA AND UVB rays. The pesky UVB’s will burn you but the UVA are the ones will make your face look like a map of the Himalayas way before your time.

It’s the daily moisturizer called Anthelios by La Roche Posay. I cannot speak to any of their other products but I LOVE this one. I put it on in the morning right out of the shower, under my make-up. It’s lightweight, not greasy and doesn’t smell funny.

Wish I could say the same for my husband.

Fair warning, it is expensive. I found it online, 30 bucks for about three and a half ounces. But a facelift runs between $6,000 and $15,000 bucks. Even Good Enough Mother, with her piss poor math skills, can figure out the bargain here.

What products do you have to have to get you through the summer? Come on now, share…..

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Good Enough Mother has tears in her eyes! I just finished watching the trailer for a new film called The Evolution of Dad. It’s about the changing face of fatherhood in our society. Listen to these men, in their own words, talking about what it means to be a stay at home dad, to take the primary care giving role in their children’s lives. Some talk about it being liberating, others say its emasculating. But the tenderness between kids and their fathers makes me want to see more.

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Underdressed And STRESSED!

When will Good Enough Mother learn?

It’s the end of the school year and that means recital time. Casey is in orchestra in school and the girls always wear dainty white tops with black skirts or pants. Simple enough.

Cole is in band but not just in band, he’s the drummer, which earns him extra cool points. Tonight was his recital. When I asked him what he should wear, he said Mr. Posner said they could wear whatever they wanted, as long as it looked professional. Okay, I buy that, besides, it’s band – aren’t they the rebels?

He chose the one polo shirt he owns (tainted blue from being washed with jeans) and he paired it with reversible basketball shorts. He assured me that other children would be sporting similar looks. It was hot and nearly summer and it looked professional enough to me.

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Meet Rene

photo of rene syler



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